New Era Newspaper

New Era Epaper
Icon Collap
Home / Court decides on FlyNamibia's fate today

Court decides on FlyNamibia's fate today

2024-03-18  Maria Sheya

Court decides on FlyNamibia's fate today

Namibia’s sole provider of scheduled air services FlyNamibia is at risk of being grounded after the Transportation Commission of Namibia refused to renew its licence. 

FlyNamibia’s Scheduled Air Transport Service Licence is due to expire on 28 March 2024. The company has had the licence since 1995 and it has been renewed on five occasions, with the latest being March

On Tuesday, the company approached the Windhoek High Court on an urgent basis, seeking an order suspending the commission’s decision taken on 7 March to refuse the renewal of its Scheduled Air Transport Service Licence. 

They asked that the decision be suspended until the court determines the review application which the aviation company has filed with the

The company further wants the court to allow it to continue using its licence until such a time when its renewal application has been determined.

Alternatively, the company wants the court to refer the matter back to the commissioner on the condition that the renewal application will be reconsidered, and a ruling must be given within 14 days. 

In court documents, FlyNamiba director Colin Henri van Schalkwyk said the commission has failed to give reasons why they refused to renew the licence.  He said the company submitted its application in November 2023.

On 20 February 2024, the company had a hearing with the commission. He said at the time, Loini Shikale, who serves as the deputy chairperson, had to stand in for chairperson James Diedericks, who was ill.

Van Schalkwyk said the commission did not raise any concerns during the detailed presentation, and requested to be given seven days to give a ruling. On 8 March, they were informed that their renewal application was not successful. However, no reasons were given, and none was given at the time of filing the application.

Van Schalkwyk alleges that Diedericks, who was not part of the hearing, was briefed and participated in making the final decision, which gives rise to irregularity in the proceedings.

He said if the company’s licence expires and the court does not suspend the commissioner’s decision, it will result in a catastrophic effect, affecting employees, passengers and various sectors of the country.

“The applicant (FlyNamibia)’s entire business will come to a grinding halt should the licence expire on 24 March 2024, as Section 2(1) of the Act prohibits the applicant from rendering air transport services without a licence,” stated Van Schalkwyk.

Furthermore, roughly N$174 million in annual contributions towards the country’s economy will be affected, and 87 people will be left without jobs.

“Namibia’s aviation sector is small compared to larger countries, and these employees cannot be absorbed by the remainder of Namibia’s aviation market. Their skills are specialised, and cannot simply be used in other industries,” he amplified.

On Friday, the company’s lawyer Raymond Heathcote made submissions before Judge Esi Schimming-Chase.

No one showed up for the commission nor the transportation ministry, and neither indicated their intention to defend the application, despite having been served.

The court is due to give a ruling today on the interdict, which is likely to be a default judgement.



2024-03-18  Maria Sheya

Share on social media